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omg i made a scrapbook

okay - now, before you get all excited, it's a scrapbook, but not in the "i used papers and embellishments and artistic freedom" sort of way. but i DID make a book.

and let me tell you: it felt really good.

today doesn't feel quite as great, since i was up until 2 a.m. working and listening to the "modern love" podcast. i'm getting too old for that. yesterday was like old times, though, when i was on deadline for my book, and the only time i had to work was after the kids went to bed. except today i was up at 8 a.m. when the cat stretched against me, not 6 a.m., when harper was "all done dark," as she used to say, and i had to drive henry to school.

the process i used for this book was WAY easier, too, than the fully tactile style of crafting. i used a 6x8" digital album template set and some printable travel cards from ali edwards and a few tags from jen hadfield's chasing adventure line. that was it.

streamlined, baby.

another thing that made this project easy is that i had already blogged about the trip, the photos were already edited, and the journaling was written. super easy peasy.

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i will definitely use digital templates again for single subject books. it made the process so smooth and fast, and the finished product looks like it took way more work than it did. it was really nice to see a project come together without taking days and days of work and mess. hybrid crafting is the way to go!


sometimes i still make photographs

there was a time when the camera rarely left my hands. when the kids were little, i wanted to capture every moment, every activity, document how they grew and changed seemingly overnight. as they got older, there was less to photograph. by the time henry was in high school, the only pictures i took of him were at swim meets; around the same time, harper started to refuse the camera altogether. and then the camera was replaced by the phone, because it was faster and more accessible.

during that time, i've also shot fewer clients. i still have the occasional family ...

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and a few seniors every summer and fall, but i no longer advertise. last summer, as covid took away proms and graduations, i put out a notice to a local high school parent group that i would donate graduate photos to families, in exchange for a donation to the local food shelf. in the end, i shot about 20 kiddos and raised more than $300 for the food shelf over the course of a month.

that felt good.

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i still love the camera. i still love capturing who people are without them even noticing. and i still love documenting how my kids have grown and changed, even though i know those days are numbered.

before henry headed back to college for his junior year this past august, i got him and harper to humor me with their time and cooperation. they were awkward at first, then started to loosen up and have fun. then they were goofballs, and i adored what i was getting from them.

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and then henry spun harper around in a bear hug, she fell on her bum, and that was the end of the fun.

we've seen henry only twice since then, and over thanksgiving i set up the camera on the dining table and took a family photo for the holiday cards. once a year, i manage to get a family photo. sometimes it even turns out.

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i'm glad i was able to capture him with his new mop of long, pandemic curls and face full of scruff, and harper letting herself be snuggled up by him.

since then, the camera has stayed quiet. then harper turned 16 two weeks ago, and i asked her to please let me do a little birthday photo shoot with her. she complied - amazingly - and gave me about 30 minutes of patience and cooperation. afterward, i was amazed that she looked so relaxed. without going into too much personal detail, the past year has been full of many challenges with her, not the least of which she hasn't stepped foot into a classroom for more than a year, and hasn't seen any friends in person since october, when her completely strange high school swim season ended. however, the one huge positive to come out of all the pain of the first semester of distance learning is that we explored other school options, and found an arts charter school 20 minutes from home. she has attended virtually for a quarter, and should be able to start in-person school two days a week by the end of next week. she has LOVED the teachers, the classes, getting to know classmates over virtual classrooms, finding that they are all a little like her in all the best ways. maybe that renewed sense of confidence and hope is what showed up in her face while i photographed her, because for the first time in many, many months, she looked happy with and in herself.

and, apparently, when you take a girl out of her hoodie, jammie pants, and ponytail, she suddenly also looks so 16.

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the next day, though, we had to do an addendum shoot. all she asked for for her birthday was a haircut for the first time in more than a year, and maybe add some color ... something a little fun. so that's what we did, and she suddenly looked even MORE 16, if that's possible.

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ugh. she's gorgeous. i can't handle it.

i'm still trying to decide if i get back in the game or if the camera takes on hobby status. on one hand, i truly love making photos and giving people gorgeous glimpses of their family or child ... especially those seniors. on the other hand, as my nest inches toward empty, marc and i are making plans to travel more, try on new places, perhaps live abroad at some point, and maybe my photography is just a hobby ... or maybe i try selling art prints? i don't know. options are there.

i have zero love for the business side, and am admittedly terrible at that aspect, but as marc says, "you can't do something for nothing." i just like giving people joy; them giving me money feels extremely awkward. then there's the whole conversation about monetizing a passion: should we? should we not? if not, what do i do with the rest of my life?

this all feels way bigger than "i take pictures." once again, i'm reminded that therapy would probably be a good idea, but i digress.

anyway, there are still photographs to make, and i like making them.


april 1

i'm back. and no, this isn't an april fool's joke. i could understand your skepticism, though.

last weekend, marc and i were discussing the ongoing streamlining, purging, simplifying we have going on around here, and i mentioned that i'm going to let the blog go. pull off things i want to keep, set the rest free. then a friend from my former life in the scrapbooking world mentioned an april challenge on facebook - a daily blog share of artful living - and it got me to thinking: i'd been planning to focus selfishly on my own time and needs and wellness in april, and participating in this challenge would both hold me accountable to that plan and hold me accountable to including creativity in that plan.

win/win/win. win.

i've been babystepping back into creativity during this Pandemic Season ... kept a scrapbook all of last year to document our lives during the dumpster fire that was 2020, and then decided to keep it up in 2021. i also started a small scrapbook in january of my quest to re-center my thoughts and actions on me for the first time in, well, more than 20 years. i have these little projects that i update on a weekly basis, and it has helped stretch those muscles and dust off the skills. during april, though, i hope to add in more creative outlets and learning.

 

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i received watercolors for christmas, took a three-hour online class in january, then ... nothing. haven't touched them since, though i truly want to get back into painting. and i miss scrapbooking; harper will be a senior in the very near future, yet i haven't really gotten back into keeping up with story telling since we packed up our last house to move more than 10 years ago. when she was six. i am so, so sorry, kiddo. for awhile, i was in an online writing group, doing writing exercises and working on my own projects, but ... nope. those have been abandoned, too.

i am in the process of giving the guest room a glow up; does that count?

 

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but even that is on hold until the remaining things arrive. which means that project, too, will be temporarily abandoned, and with it, the creative spark that got me going on it in the first place.

but this challenge: let's see if i can do it. let's see if i can follow through and take that time daily to focus on something other than "what do we need from the grocery?" ... "what am i making for every meal today?" ... "why are there always dishes to wash?" ... "what is this crushing sense of ennui that presses into me, every minute of every day?"

30 days. i can do 30 days. right?